Reprinted from Reader Supported News
The New York Times gave you a good spin this evening on the issue of military weapons for civilian police. They said, "Obama to Issue Tougher Rules on Police Use of Military Gear." It's a tricky headline. It conveys a sense that you are acting to mitigate the militarization of America's police forces. On deeper analysis that's really not the case.
A fairer perspective on the course you have chosen would be that you are pressing for better judgement, greater restraint, and body cameras, but that in fact you have no plan to oppose the continued militarization of America's police forces. That's not what those who voted for you want.
The people who elected you president of the United States want you to use the power they have granted you to oppose, in unequivocal terms, the continued buildup of military arms by America's police agencies.
Obviously there are limits to your power, even as president -- as well there should be. Nothing, however, stops you from saying this is wrong, this is dangerous, this must stop. That alone might not do it, but it would be a powerful start, and it would undoubtedly recover for you the groundswell of support you have not enjoyed since 2008.
You can't on the one hand make a stand for Net Neutrality and on the other hand try to defend the NSA's Metadata Program. People, particularly those who supported your White House runs, are left with an enigma, and it's hard for enigmas to muster public mandates.
You can sleepwalk through the last two years of your tenure, or you can use this time, this opportunity to effect the real lasting change you said you wanted. You will never get another chance.
Imagine if Jackie Robinson, when he came up to the major leagues in 1947, couldn't hit or field. Imagine if the most important thing to Jackie Robinson had been acceptance. What would have changed then? Fortunately for Jackie Robinson and for America he could hit, and if you hit him, he hit you back. He wasn't the best liked player in baseball but he didn't care. There was something that needed to be done and he set his mind to doing it.
To effect change you need a groundswell of popular support. You are trying to achieve the level of support you need essentially with marketing. Marketing won't win hearts and minds. Truth and justice will.
Throw away the prepared speech, forget about accommodating those sworn to stopping you, and do what you were elected to do, or at least try. You will have plenty of support and so will your party.
Oppose the militarization of America's police forces. Go to Ferguson and speak the truth. Stop trying to justify the NSA.
Hit the ball -- and when they hit you, hit them back.